The Tech Industry Talks About Boosting Diversity, but Research Shows Little Improvement

Written by: Donald T. Tomaskovic-Devey, JooHee Han
Published on: Mar 14, 2022

workplace diversity
Photo credit: seanlockephotography/Adobe Stock

The U.S. tech sector is growing 10 times faster and has wages twice as high as the rest of the economy. This industry also wins the race for high profits and stock returns.

At the same time, the tech sector’s professional, managerial and executive labor forces are overwhelmingly white and male.

It is not surprising, then, that the field is under a great deal of pressure to diversify its labor force.

As researchers who study inequality, we examined the data to go beyond the picture of diversity in the tech sector as a whole. In our most recent research, we looked at which types of tech firms increased their workforce diversity, by how much and for which groups of people. What we found surprised us.

Our research used machine learning techniques and firm-level data on employment diversity for 6,163 tech firms employing 2,582,342 workers. We used a clustering algorithm to identify groups of firms with similar changes in diversity between 2008 and 2016.

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